Snowflakes

How to Prepare for Seasonal Costs

12/22/2021

Different seasons can have a big impact on how you spend your money. There are expenses that come up every year that you may forget to budget for — from higher heating bills in the winter to holiday gifts. These costs can become inconvenient or stressful when they hit an already tight budget. Some common seasonal expenses include:

Holidays

Think about celebrations that involve gifts, parties or gatherings, and large meals — including birthdays. Holidays can really put a strain on your budget.

Major events

Certain times of the year are standard for celebrating milestone events, such as graduations and weddings. The arrival of children is another major event that is costly.

Education

Back-to-school time can include tuition, housing, school supplies, new clothes and shoes, books, and more. With various extracurricular activities and sports, there are even more expenses.

Weather changes

When temperatures reach extreme highs or lows, that means paying more to heat or cool your space. It can also impact driving conditions and may require you to tune up your car or buy new tires. 

Vacations and travel

Popular times for travel are around major holidays, when there are longer school breaks, and during warmer seasons. Airfare, lodging, car rentals, and dining are expenses that should be considered.  

Budget for seasonal costs

The good news is that you can prepare for these costs before they arrive. Building seasonal expenses into your budget can make them more predictable and reduce your financial stress. Begin by taking a hard look at where your money is going regularly. This may involve reviewing your bank statements or receipts over the past few months. Make a list of your monthly bills — rent/mortgage, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. — that will always be included in your budget. Then, add a list of other regular expenses (that aren’t needed), like subscription services or eating out. Using a budgeting app may make it easier for you to gather and organize this information.

Now think about how your spending changes during different times of the year. For instance, do you pay higher bills in the winter than in the fall? Once you uncover those patterns, ask yourself, “Are there ways to cut unnecessary spending when you know an expensive month is coming up?” For example, you may avoid eating out as often in the summer, so you have extra cash to pay for higher air-conditioning bills.

Some seasonal expenses can be overwhelming, even after you’ve budgeted for them. When you need some extra funds to cover your costs, a personal loan could be the right option for you.

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